How To Play “Perfect” By Ed Sheeran

Lisa Witt  /  Pop/Rock  /  UPDATED Jan 12, 2023

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Ed Sheeran wrote “Perfect” for his wife. Their love story is so nice. They actually were childhood friends who went to school together, and then reconnected later in life!

<< Download the free lead sheet here >>

She’s a lucky lady to have this song written for her, but today you’re the lucky one because we have a tutorial for you!!! 🙂

This song is as beautiful as it is simple. We’ll be playing in the key of G Major (the original is in G# Major), and we will only have to learn four chords.

Those chords are G, Em, C, and D. That’s it! The order of the chords does change for the chorus, but the chords themselves are the same throughout the whole song.

This is a “Perfect” example (excuse the pun!) of how so many popular songs only use four chords.

The Most Challenging Part

Now — just because the chords are simple and they repeat a lot — doesn’t mean that there aren’t any challenges when playing this song.

The biggest thing will be left-hand pattern. We’ll be playing arpeggios of all the chords in our left hand. That might take a bit of practice, especially when we play hands together.

If it is too challenging, to begin with, we can just play the root and 5th of the chord with our left hand. But I would encourage you to try and play the arpeggios because it’s so satisfying when you are able to master it.

The Other Tricky Thing

You’ll notice when you play this that our right and left hands share the same space on the keyboard. In fact, right away there is a G note that we play with our right hand, and then just two beats later we’re playing it with our left. This might feel confusing and a bit squishy at first, but it is a good skill to practice. It’s important to be comfortable at the keyboard in a variety of positions.

If this is just too weird for you to begin with, you can always play the left hand an octave lower (you might like the sound better as well).

The Outro

The final challenge is the outro. In the lead sheet, we have notated the chords that you will be playing, but in the video, you can see that I break those chords up with my right hand to make it sound a little fancier. It’s up to you how you would like to play it.

One thing that really helps in that section is to notice the notes that DON’T move. Eg. in the right hand the first four chords all have D as the bottom note. So you only really need to move one note each time.

And that’s it! This is a beautiful song to perform for a loved one or just master on your own.

And I hope it will help you see that songs written and performed by professional musicians aren’t always super complicated. Sometimes the simple chords and melodies are the best.

Have fun!

Lisa Witt has been teaching piano for more than 20 years and in that time has helped hundreds of students learn to play the songs they love. Lisa received classical piano training through the Royal Conservatory of Music, but she has since embraced popular music and playing by ear in order to accompany herself and others. Learn more about Lisa.

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The easiest way to learn beautiful piano chords.
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